From the President (Winter 2017)

To my NASJE colleagues:

NASJE President Caroline Kirkpatrick
NASJE President
Caroline Kirkpatrick

As if you need any more reminders that the new year is upon us…I’m going to add my well wishes for a happy, healthy, educational 2017! So often, we think about January as a time for looking forward, planning the year, determining what we will do better or what we will do more of. While engaged in some of this self-reflection, I was reminded of a conversation with a colleague that took place a few months ago, and began with a simple question – “How is your NASJE presidency going?” My colleague then added, “I’ve heard that there are two types of leaders – ones who attempt to steer the ship in a new direction, forging new paths, and ones who simply attempt to keep the ship off of the rocks.” While my ambition certainly does not completely align with “simply keeping the ship off of the rocks,” I hardly see the need for a new direction or a new path. NASJE has continued to grow and evolve since its inception in 1973, into an organization that is recognized nationally and internationally for its commitment to advancing the administration of justice through excellence in judicial branch education.

Looking back on 2016, I was reminded of “Sleepless in Seattle,” but not because of the movie, but rather because of the formatting of the title. I think it’s mostly because a similarly formatted phrase…“Pining for Burlington”…seems to characterize my feelings to a tee! The weather was beautiful, the connections and friendships even more solidified and the professional renewal was at work once again. I don’t know about other members who took part in NASJE’s annual conference in beautiful Burlington, but I for one have already used some good tips here in Virginia. Please take this opportunity, if you have not already, to look over your conference information, including all of the resources available in the cloud, and take some action. Do one thing to pay forward all of the good education and work that occurred in Vermont. For those of you who couldn’t attend, you are also being called to action. The conference materials are available in the “Members Only” section of, so please take a look when you have a minute. NASJE’s utility reaches far beyond conference attendance – we can continue to grow, learn and network throughout the year in a variety of ways.

Let’s recollect some of these ways, so that we can begin to plan on attending and participating in as many of them as possible:

  • Familiarize yourself with the committee list and contact a chair to see how you can get involved; the monthly schedule of committee calls can be found on the NASJE calendar.
  • Continue to visit regularly as articles, book reviews, videos and other educational resources and announcements are posted.
  • Use the listserv to ask questions about what other states are doing and share if something has worked particularly well for you and your judicial branch “consumers.”
  • Consider submitting a proposal for a conference workshop or session at “other” education or court related conferences. Let related communities benefit from NASJE members’ expertise and collective knowledge.
  • Help increase our social media presence and value by “sharing” and “liking” articles, court community events, colleagues’ accolades, and studies that promote healthy discussion and reflection.

One last idea, if I may…begin thinking now about ways to increase the likelihood of your attendance at the 2017 annual conference in Charleston. As indicated above, it is but one way to stay connected and involved in NASJE, but I suspect there are few educational experts who would deny the awesome power of face to face interaction and connections. Are there topics you could present during a breakout session? Are there topics or areas of concern that could be suggested for the 2017 program that might help persuade “the powers that be” to support your attendance? Can the NASJE conference registration fee be earmarked now for any funds that are saved during the year or that remain at the end of the fiscal year? Would you be willing to fund some portion of attendance, demonstrating your commitment to the profession AND your agency or organization? Unfortunately, many of us have little control over budgets or out of state travel policies, but we all benefit when conference attendance is high and diverse. More ideas, more examples, more tips and best practices…it’s a win win, so start thinking now of ways to increase your likelihood of being South Carolina bound next September.

I appreciate so much the opportunity to serve as NASJE’s President and feel confident that with your support and the guidance of the Board and other past and present NASJE leaders, our ship will stay the course. Let’s make 2017 another unforgettable year for ourselves and our organization!